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Aelian: That is the benefit of peace

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Greek and Roman writers on war and peace

Aelian: A parable of two cities

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Aelian
From Historical Miscellany
Translated by N.G. Wilson

No sculptor or painter has portrayed for us the daughters of Zeus in armour. This proves that life among the Muses must be peaceful and gentle.

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[N]o one, whether painter or sculptor, has ever succeeded in giving us utterly untrue images of the Muses, false and alien to the nature of the daughters of Zeus. What artist has been so irresponsibly stupid as to depict them for us wearing armour? The fact proves that life dedicated to the Muses must be peaceful, gentle, and worthy of them.

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Philiscus once said to Alexander: “Take care of your reputation; don’t become a plague, bring peace and health.” By plague he meant violent and savage rule, the capture of cities, the destruction of populations; by health, care for the safety of subjects: that is the benefit of peace.

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